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Retiring County Agent Marvin Weaver honored with a retirement dinner

Longtime Gilchrist County Agent Marvin Weaver was honored with a retirement dinner at the Suwannee River Fair Barn on the evening of Thursday, October 25. A large crowd of former 4-H members, farmers, neighbors, and friends were on hand to wish Weaver well.
Weaver started his career as a County Agriculture Agent back in July of 1972 in Escambia County, Florida, shortly after graduating from Mississippi State University with a Masters Degree. He spent eight years working in the Pensacola area where he met his wife of 42 years Kathy Hitchcock Weaver. After their daughter Laura and son Ryan were born they had an opportunity to move to Gilchrist County after Bill Brown left the position of County Agent.
Weaver recalls that when he moved to the county in 1980, he worked for not only UF but for local County Commissioners Addy Jones, Cecil Corbin, Horace Douglas, Bud Mathis and Perk Thomas.
When Weaver arrived in Gilchrist County his secretary was Betty May, his current secretary of 33 years is Shelia Langford. Weaver worked with the late Elaine Faison who was in charge of 4-H in those days. He later worked with 4-H Agent Chris Decubellis for ten years and for the past three years he has worked with 4-H Agent Jessica Cooper.
While recalling his 38 years in Gilchrist County Weaver said, “Life has been good here, people have been good to me, it’s kind of like Mississippi, just good people.”
During the retirement dinner longtime friend and fellow county agent from Levy County, Anthony Drew said through the years, “Marvin and I have pulled tricks and pranks on UF/IFAS all the way to the top.” He recalled working with Weaver for years and the many meetings they traveled to and from together, laughing and singing all the old Hank Snow and Tex Ritter songs. After working together for years, the duo of Weaver and Drew will retire together and hopefully spend time fishing on the river together.
During the evening former neighbors Mike Casey and Gary Rexroat recalled the joys of having Marvin Weaver as a neighbor for many years.
Suwannee River Fair President, Loran Brookins, thanked Weaver for his many years of service to the area youth at the Fair. Brookins said, “Marvin did all the jobs behind the scenes. He would be at the fair at 5 a.m., cleaned up everything, loaded up the garbage and left before we ever got to the fair.” Afterward, Weaver reminisced for a few minutes about the old fair barn and his many years working at the youth fair.
Former Gilchrist 4-H member and now Chiefland High School teacher, Katie Jones asked the crowd, “Raise your hand if you have ever ridden with Mr. Marvin and thought you would die.” About one third of the crowd raised their hand. Jones said, “He also has the kindest heart of anyone I have ever known.”
Another former 4-H member and current 4-H Leader, Leslie Faison, recalled Weaver’s ability to talk his way out of a speeding ticket. He also recalled how Weaver had kept 4-H alive and running well in the county through the years.
Later Weaver recalled how much his job has changed through the years. When he arrived in Gilchrist County there were a lot of people growing tobacco and lots of farmers growing vegetables in the flat woods. Now there are a lot fewer farmers and the few remaining farmers farm on a lot bigger scale. Another change in farming is the amount of technology used in farming these days.
Weaver and his wife, Kathy plan to do some baby sitting, traveling and maybe a little fishing after he retires.
4-H Agent Jessica Cooper will serve as interim Director at the County Agents office until a new director is selected. An Agronomy Agent will replace Weaver, but at this time it is unknown when because the Vice President of IFAS, Dr. Jack M. Payne, has frozen all hiring.